Long-term acceptance of fully allogeneic cardiac grafts by cotransplantation of vascularized thymus in miniature swine

Shuji Nobori, Emma Samelson-Jones, Akira Shimizu, Yosuke Hisashi, Shin Yamamoto, Chisako Kamano, Katsuhito Teranishi, Parsia A. Vagefi, Mathew Nuhn, Masayoshi Okumi, Banny Wong, Stuart Houser, David H. Sachs, Kazuhiko Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background. We have previously reported the ability of both thymokidney and vascularized thymic lobe (VTL) allografts to induce transplantation tolerance to renal allografts across a full major histocompatibility complex (MHC) mismatch in thymectomized miniature swine. However, whether vascularized thymus is capable of inducing tolerance to less tolerogeneic organs when it is transplanted simultaneously is not yet known. The present study investigates cardiac allograft survival and the mechanism of long-term acceptance in recipient swine following cotransplantation of VTL and cardiac grafts from fully MHC-mismatched donors. Methods. Animals received a heart graft, a heart graft and a VTL, or a heart graft and a donor thymocyte infusion. Immunosuppressive regimens consisted of 12 or 28 days of tacrolimus. Results. All animals that received a VTL maintained their grafts significantly longer than their counterparts that received only a heart graft, and those receiving 28 days of tacrolimus maintained their heart grafts long-term. Recipients of a donor thymocyte infusion demonstrated slightly prolonged cardiac graft survival but all rejected their grafts, highlighting the importance of thymic stroma. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses against third-party antigens by cells from tolerant animals showed restriction by both self and donor MHC, whereas responses of controls were restricted to self MHC only. The presence of donor dendritic cells in the VTL grafts and results of co-culture assays suggest that both central and regulatory mechanisms were involved in achieving long-term acceptance. Conclusion. This is the first demonstration of the long-term acceptance of fully MHC-mismatched cardiac allografts in large animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Heart transplantation
  • Miniature swine
  • Thymus transplantation
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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